Last week, we checked in with Julie Sootin, the development director at the Westchester Children’s Museum, to find out how far along the museum is — and what, if anything, is set to open in the coming months. Good news: There’s movement.
What’s new this spring?
This May, the museum will reopen with expanded exhibits. “We are planning a phased opening with 4,000-square-feet in the summer of 2015 (up from 2,000 in 2014) going up to 6,000 square feet in the fall of 2015,” says Sootin. Now that the building also has restrooms and heat, they plan to stay open indefinitely, although only a portion of the exhibits are in place. “We will strategically close off portions of the building as the construction progresses to minimize the impact on our visitors,” she adds.
If we go in May, what will be there?
In addition to KEVA planks and the Build Your Own Rollercoaster exhibits introduced last year, the expanded museum will include a toddler zone, shadow and light play, a wind tunnel, sand play, maker spaces, a chalk wall, and rotating activity carts both inside the museum and on the boardwalk. Amazing!
What’s left to build out?
“The 22,000-square-foot bathhouse has been empty for 50 years. The county has restored the building shell and over time the museum will be investing over $6 million in infrastructure improvements to make the space useable (plumbing, electrical, HVAC, etc.). We have a solid and conservative business plan that demonstrates an enormous economic impact on the county once the full museum is completed,” she says.
Sign me up. When can I go?
The museum will open on May 9, the day that Rye Playland opens. Check the website for exact hours, along with information about special events and programs: www.discoverWCM.org. Admission this summer is “pay as you wish” to thank the community for all of its support.
Westchester Children’s Museum, Rye Playland, Rye